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Built Review
135
Eager Beaver 2 1/2 ton truck
U.S Army Eager Beaver 2 1/2 Ton Truck
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by: Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]


Originally published on:
Armorama

Introduction

Monogram has reissued one of their vintage kits, the 2.5 ton Eager Beaver, otherwise known as the M34 2 1/2 ton truck. The box art for this kit dates back to 1957, and the plastic may be older. Described in the instructions as a workhorse of WWII, this kit comes from a time when accuracy and detail were secondary considerations in modeling fun.

The actual M34 truck was a 3 axle, 6 wheel truck designed in 1949 by REO and entering manufacture in 1950, quickly supplanted in production by the 10 wheel M35 series. They were briefly referred to as the eager beaver because of their fording ability. Although listed at 2 1/2 tons capacity, they were frequently found to be able to carry far more.

Contents

Presented in a vintage looking box with dynamic box art showing the co-driver hanging on to the door from the outside as the truck heads down a dirt road, and armed with a Thompson sub-machine gun with drum magazine, passing a 4 man combat team in a fox hole, the box top text states the kit features operating tail gate and doors and has black tires and a removable top.

Review

The box contents consist of several sprues with no visible lettering system. Each part is numbered. The plastic is dark green. The 1/35 scale claim on the box art appears to be somewhat negotiable on examination of the contents, as the figures appear closer to the 1/32nd scale figures from a vintage Monogram StuG IV I have on hand.

The molds would appear to be the original, as there is quite a bit of flash and ejector pin marks abound. Details are limited or missing. The engine is represented by the bottom of the oil pan. The gas tank is hollow in the back, and both are visible if looking at the kit from eye level. However, it does show the pedals, even if molded on, as well as the T clamps for the windscreen (though the kit is supplied with a solid cab top). The black tires are good old fashioned black rubber, but there were no creasing lines or flaws in the molding itself.

The figure detail can be compared to the plastic army men I had as a child and are nowhere near to modern standards.The windscreen and rear window are to be cut from a piece of clear acetate.

The instructions are in line drawing form, with clear depiction of the kit parts, aside from a couple of pieces, such as the grille assembly, part 16, which shows installation from the rear. You have to look ahead in the instructions to see which side is up. The first step in the instructions is to cut out the windscreen and window with a provided template. The instructions do state to use white glue to fix them in place.

THE BUILD

I followed the instructions in assembling this kit, skipping only the windscreen installation until after the kit is painted. There were no issues during building. The drive line is molded in a single piece and was warped, but is flexible enough to fix in place. The driver door does not close securely. The mud flaps should be placed with the detail to the outside. The tail gate, which is shown as a not to glue part, is also installed with the detail to the outside. It has a limited range of motion. The wheels snap into place and can turn with a little graphite.

As you can see from the photos, the kit is simple in detail and appearance. I can't speak for the dimensional accuracy of the completed model, but if not exact, it does resemble the M34.

The kit decals are for two marking options, one US Army and one USMC. The decals appear to be very thick-ish but are well printed and include a data plate for the cab. Painting instructions call out for the vehicle to be painted in olive drab.

CONCLUSION

So who exactly is this kit for? Not for accuracy enthusiasts or super builders, unless they want a significant challenge. It is crudely molded and looks like what you would expect for its age. However, the build is simple and straight forward, no issues. The decals, while thick, are sturdy enough to be handled by inexperienced modelers. This kit may appeal to some for nostalgia, but it would be ideal for a younger modeler who wants to play with the kit they built, and wants some figures they can press into the dirt without the worry of losing pieces of equipment.

If you are looking for something that might appeal to a new modeler and get them started in the hobby, this kit may offer what you want. Monogram will continue to offer releases of older kits as part of this program. They are not at the original prices, but are still value priced at around $20.00 US.
SUMMARY
Highs: A true "vintage" kit, easy to build and then roll through the dirt.
Lows: Old molds lack detail. Flash and sink marks. Accuracy was less important when this was first released.
Verdict: Good as a starter kit for a young modeler, or for those with fond memories of this kit from their childhood of long ago.
Percentage Rating
60%
  Scale: 1:35
  Mfg. ID: 85-6457
  Suggested Retail: $22.95 US
  Related Link: 
  PUBLISHED: Sep 25, 2013
  NATIONALITY: United States
NETWORK-WIDE AVERAGE RATINGS
  THIS REVIEWER: 84.47%
  MAKER/PUBLISHER: 68.75%

Our Thanks to Monogram!
This item was provided by them for the purpose of having it reviewed on this KitMaker Network site. If you would like your kit, book, or product reviewed, please contact us.

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About Russ Amott (russamotto)
FROM: UTAH, UNITED STATES

I got back into the hobby a few years back, and wanted to find ways to improve, which is how I found this site. Since joining Armorama I have improved tremendously by learning from others here, and have actually finished a couple of kits. I model to relax and have fun, but always look to improve. ...

Copyright 2018 text by Russ Amott [ RUSSAMOTTO ]. Images also by copyright holder unless otherwise noted. Opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Armorama. All rights reserved.



Comments

Nice job Russ; and the canvas tarp on the back of the old girl doesn't look half bad at all!
SEP 25, 2013 - 07:34 AM
Built several as a yung'un, and like many other Monogram and Renwal armor kits, were consumed in lighter-fluid fed flames. Good times....
SEP 25, 2013 - 10:44 AM
Yep, I built this one, too, in the early 60's. Mine would have remained in the original color of issue and the figures would have had silver helmets with what would have amounted to nickle plated barrels on their guns. I recall Monogram of that period had a set of combat troops, something like 20 or so, a jeep with 37 mm anti tank gun in tow, a weasel, a twin .50 half track. Revell had a few armor kits, too, in about the same scale. One was an open top anti tank gun. Renwal, IIRC, had figures that were bizarrely tall and skinny, closer to 1/24 scale. I recall building their atomic cannon, which is now back on the shelves. The one I built may have had a spring loaded firing mechanism for the nuclear shells.
SEP 25, 2013 - 11:31 AM
Russ, thanks for reviewing this! Monogram, thanks for sending this! The old kit looks better than I recall; I still have a parts bin drawer full of the wheels! I think I'll head to the LHS and buy one.
SEP 25, 2013 - 11:35 AM
IIRC Revell scaled them to 1/40. Their M4 Sherman was horrid but the 105 howitzer was...nice. I never built it but the SP Al refers to is the M56 Scorpion. I used to play in one at a college when I was a kid.
SEP 25, 2013 - 11:38 AM
Will that tarp fit on thenTamiya truck?
SEP 25, 2013 - 03:07 PM
Al, the original ad is on the side of the box, showing the jeep and 37mm anti tank gun, weasel, and a "mail truck" which is the halftrack with twin .50 cal. I loved kits like this that I could add to my "Guns of Navarone" army figure set, along with the Tamiya tanks that rolled on their rubber band tracks.
SEP 26, 2013 - 03:39 AM
Yeah, those were the days- The endless summers that flew by all too quickly... The half-dried out tubes of brand-new REVELL Cement... I wound up hating those RENWALL kits- Very poor parts fit. My buddies and I used to call RENWALL figures "The GOON ARMY"... Does anyone remember the old SNAP Models? They were 1/40 and remarkably detailed (GREAT parts fit, too) US AFVs- Amtrac Water Buffalo, Willys Jeep MB and a few others. They were extremely hard to find in the hobby shops of yore... I can remember buying countless "1/32" MONOGRAM MILITARY SERIES models- The M35, The Half-Track (a very late M15), WEASELS, The Jeep w/37mm AT gun, the first M48s ever... My friends and I bought every 1/48 MONOGRAM Aircraft kit that we could find. Multi-scale LINDBERG and REVELL Ship models, which were actually pretty darned good kits in the 1960s era... AMT 1/25 and MONOGRAM 1/24 Classic Cars, the first TAMIYA Tanks with the "rubber band tracks". I can remember the first 1/32 "serious" MONOGRAM efforts in armor- The M3 Lee and Grant kits, a "late" Pz.Kpfw IV, a "Wirbelwind" and a "Brummbaer"... They included a four-paged "How To" pamphlet by noted modeller Shep Paine... The better MONOGRAM 1/48 Aircraft kits also included the same kind of pamphlets by Mr.Paine; Super-detailing, "Imagineering", dry-brushing, AIRBRUSHING, pin washes- a whole new way of modelling!!!
SEP 26, 2013 - 08:11 AM
Ah when I was a young lad. I wish I could say I remember them well, not to bad though I do remember them.
SEP 28, 2013 - 01:56 PM
We broke our quick reply box. Working on it. Until fixed go to topic to reply.
Thanks.
   

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